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Garden is full of freebies for planting

Rosemary is dripping with new plant material. Picture by Tom Pattinson.
Rosemary is dripping with new plant material. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

We all appreciate plant bargains, but miss out on opportunities to raise our own, free of charge, from saved seed, division or cuttings.

Vegetative plant propagation continues year-round.

Autumn sees the lifting of dahlia tubers, chrysanthemum stools, fuchsia and other perennials that will stand in boxes with compost under cover. Each represents stock plants capable of producing young stems for cuttings. Herbaceous perennials can be lifted and divided for planting in autumn. At the same time, hardwood cuttings of shrubs and fruit bushes are planted.

Spring presents a further opportunity to divide herbaceous plants and take stem cuttings of soft shoots.

My summer cutting season is under way and the first plant materials collected are going into a propagating box in the unheated greenhouse. Further batches will be housed in a wooden raised bed in the garden. Gritty compost with adequate air passage is the ideal rooting medium, and a transparent lid to retain moisture and warmth is essential.

Shrubs that have recently flowered are starting to offer new growth, which is ideal. Select terminal shoots circa 10cm long, with a heel attached if possible, and remove all leaves but the topmost pair. Collect cuttings from the parent plant and pop them into a polythene bag, then submerge in water for an hour or so before planting. They stand the best chance of survival and rooting quickly when fully charged with water and turgid.

I’m taking forsythia, osmanthus and viburnum cuttings at present, having just clipped faded blooms from the heathers. Herbs, especially rosemary, are dripping with new plant materials.

Oodles of free material – all we need do is turn it into plants.